Partial to the eclipse

The solar spectacle wasn’t total, but it was good enough
Aug 24, 2017
Courtesy of: Steve Lanier Steve Lanier captured this shot of the eclipse at 10:15 a.m. Monday, a few minutes before maximum eclipse coverage. It shows the crescent effect, and the streaks are light flares visible due to the darkening effect of the surrounding blackness.

Ninety-two percent doesn’t seem too far behind 100 percent. But when it comes to an eclipse, there’s simply no comparison. Size matters.

That was clearly the case for many in Edmonds and, no doubt, much of Puget Sound when the great eclipse of 2017 concluded its moon-sun embrace, dipped the temperature a bit, and returned local skies to a blue and hazy-fog mix.

Oh sure, the partial eclipse in Edmonds – it was a wondrous thing. But grumbles of “I thought it was going to get darker” were heard more than once on the outdoor plaza above the Edmonds Library.

Now we know why so many braved the traffic jams to Madras, Oregon, for 2 minutes of totality.

Still.

With politics, North Korea, Charlottesville, Barcelona and other depressives filling our minds, newspapers and news feeds, the eclipse – the first stretching from coast to coast in 99 years – provided a life-affirming, communal sense of peace for many.

Thanks. We needed that. Seriously.

At the library plaza, eclipse-goers of all ages smiled at each other. Talked to each other, sharing a common experience. People with coveted eclipse glasses gladly shared them with those peering through homemade cardboard contraptions, knowing there was no substitute for a real view of the rare phenomenon.

On the smaller, grassy area of the plaza, Everett Dupen's "Vision" sculpture – a man with arms outstretched, taking in the sky – seemed an appropriate place to hang. Further west, by the plaza’s conference room, eclipse-goers staked their positions hours before the Big Dark.

Inside the room, the library set up a NASA eclipse feed on a big screen.

Edmonds Library manager Richard Suico was on hand. He wasn’t surprised at the large turnout.

In 2016, about 35 people gathered for a talk on the 2017 eclipse. This month, on Aug. 7, more than 700 attended a free eclipse-information class with Roger and Linda Kennedy from the Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project and Timmy Telescope Solar Astronomy Outreach.

(Free eclipse glasses might have had something to do with the throng. Still, 700.)

“After that event, I knew this was going to be big,” Suico said just before the eclipse reached its peak. “You heard about what was going on in Oregon, with the traffic situation. Clearly, eclipse fever has taken over.”

This was Suico’s second eclipse. The first came in Bangkok in 1995. “That was a total solar eclipse, so I know how exciting it can be,” he said.

We now return to your regular news feed. :(

 

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